Women's Health Wednesday January 4, 2012

Tips for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions

If you have made a New Year’s Resolution to see in 2012, you are certainly not alone. More than any other time, new year sees the most marked increase in attempts by individuals to change an aspect of their lifestyle, most commonly in the form of dieting. It is also at this time of year that harmful habits such as smoking are addressed, with people hoping that this will be the year the habit is stopped for good. Unfortunately, the majority of people who make New Year’s Resolutions – especially those that involve weight loss or smoking cessation – fail in their attempts, with many abandoned as early as February.

So what can you do to make sure your determination is rewarded? There are steps you can take to improve your chances of success.

1. Make a plan

If you’re serious about your resolution, don’t rely on sheer determination alone. Simply deciding to give up smoking, for example, is rarely enough. To give yourself the best chance, research the various methods open to you, such as nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medication like Champix to find out which will be best suited to you. Plan your course of action, bearing in mind the possibility of setbacks, so you are prepared for the inevitable ebbs and flows that come with giving up a well-established habit.

2. Get support

Don’t assume that you need to go it alone. When it comes to resolutions like weight loss, you will find a huge number of support groups available. This support can come from simple things like connecting you with fellow dieters to providing you with extensive meal plans. Support can also come from closer to home, in the form of family and friends. If you feel comfortable doing so, tell those closest to you so they can help you succeed.

3. Be positive

Committing to making a lifestyle change is a difficult task, and you will likely experience challenges along the way. Staying positive in the face of these challenges will give you a greater chance of long-term success. Focus on the benefits that achieving your resolution will bring rather than on the difficulty of the task on a day to day basis.

4. Be prepared for setbacks

Giving up a habit like smoking or attempting to lose weight are both hard tasks, so you should be prepared for setbacks that could occur. You shouldn’t be demotivated or disheartened if you do encounter setbacks, such as smoking a cigarette after a night out or giving in to the temptation of a tasty treat. There is no reason that a setback should completely derail your resolution attempt; being prepared will ensure that this does not happen.

5. Remember you’ve got all year

The most important thing is for you to remember that there is no time limit on any New Year’s Resolution that you set yourself. You have all year! There is no need to panic if you have not achieved your goal by March. Many people reach this stage and then, having not achieved what they had hoped to achieve, abandon the attempt entirely. Remember that it is the objective that matters, not how long it takes. In the end, you are in competition with no one but yourself.

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